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Frustration as many TV screens go blank

Staff Reporter
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Operators switch off analog signals as compulsory digitisation kicks in on an eventful day

THE END:Many viewers who did not have access to set-top boxes or direct-to-home services found themselves with either blank screens or with very few channels.– FILE PHOTO: A. Shaik Mohideen
THE END:Many viewers who did not have access to set-top boxes or direct-to-home services found themselves with either blank screens or with very few channels.– FILE PHOTO: A. Shaik Mohideen

On a day when a bomb went off in Malleswaram, many citizens here were left frustrated as televisions catered to by cable operators went blank in homes that did not have set-top boxes (STBs).

The multi service operators (MSOs) in the city switched off analog signals early on Wednesday, a day after the Karnataka High Court dismissed the petition filed Karnataka State Cable TV Operators’ Association seeking extension of deadline install STBs in Bangalore.

Though the deadline for digitisation was March 31, the High Court had extended it as it was hearing the case, which it dismissed on Tuesday. Bangalore and Mysore are among the 38 cities where the STB rule has to be implemented. Bangalore city is serviced by nine MSOs.

Wednesday also being the last day for filing nominations to the State Legislative Assembly and this also being the IPL (Indian Premier League) season, many viewers had to look for alternatives — homes that have already installed STBs or direct-to-home (DTH) services. According to Karnataka State Cable TV Operators’ Association president V.S. Patrick Raju, about 40 to 45 per cent of the estimated 25 lakh cable television connections in the city that are yet to migrate to digital have been affected. “The MSOs switched off most channels around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. This being a holiday season, non-availability of popular channels has started affecting many,” he told The Hindu .

He said that while some MSOs switched off news channels, others switched off popular Kannada channels besides Hindi channels. “Only a very few channels were made available to homes that are not serviced through set-top boxes.”

Huge demand

Though a huge demand came for the boxes on Wednesday, it would take some time to install them since manpower as well STBs have to be made available, he added.

Meanwhile, left with no choice, several families and businesses are migrating to STBs though they see it as an additional burden. “I have 26 TV sets in the paying guest accommodation that I run. To subscribe for cable TV digitisation, I need to spend Rs.48,000. But, I have to abide by the decision of the Central government,” said Srinivas K. of Chikkalaxmi Layout in Koramangala.


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